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As British summertime draws to a close, Italy, Portugal and Greece still offer plenty of sun in September, but with fewer crowds. A lesser-visited European option, North Macedonia offers an intriguing mix of Balkan and Mediterranean traditions. In Kenya, September is an optimal time for combining game viewing in the Maasai Mara with a beach stay on the Indian Ocean coast. Namibia’s wildlife parks also offer superb wildlife experiences in September, when conditions are mostly warm and clear; good roads make self-drive a liberating way to explore this country’s epic, photogenic landscapes. For those seeking an escape from modernity, the landscapes of Bhutan are spectacular at this time of year, when towering peaks, remote temples and fortress-monasteries are set against a clear blue sky.
September is a popular time to visit Kenya as it’s generally sunny with little rainfall. Spotting wildlife tends to be easy as animals flock to water and wildebeest are aplenty in the Maasai Mara. Around two million wildebeest enjoy greener pastures in Kenya before migrating back to the Serengeti in Tanzania in October. As zebras and wildebeest graze, big cats and other predators make their pounce, often leading to thrilling viewing. Migratory birds are also on the move in September, so have binoculars at the ready. Lake Nakuru and Lake Bogoria are great for spotting colourful flamingos, while Lake Naivasha is home to giraffes, impala and hippos. The temperatures at the Kenyan coast start to rise and can reach the high 20s – the perfect relaxation after a safari.
In September, the temperature steadily rises across Namibia and wildlife viewing is excellent. The dry season between June and October is warm and clear, with low humidity and extraordinary concentrations of wildlife, particularly in Etosha where animals congregate around scarce water sources. The Namib Desert and Sossusvlei are comfortable before the rains and extreme heat arrives in October. Whilst the Skeleton Coast may still be a cool, on balance it remains the best time to visit given that wildlife is the main draw. For this reason, September visitors should consider travelling to the wildlife parks first, as the weather steadily improves towards October. Namibia is very popular at this time of year and should therefore be booked early.
The monsoon season ends in August, and from mid-September the driest period begins. Rain still falls, but there is less than the preceding months, so travelling in the country is easier. The skies are clear and mountain peaks are set against vivid blues. It is also the time for one of Bhutan’s biggest festivals, the Thimphu Tshechu. Held in the capital, this spiritual festival is attended by people from remote villages around the country. The central focus is on the complex dances performed by masked monks, but markets also open up and the atmosphere is palpable.
In September, the weather is warm and dry in most of the country. As high season ebbs away towards the end of August, you compete with smaller crowds at famous attractions. As it turns to autumn, the countryside will be peppered with shades of red and yellow. It is still warm enough to enjoy coastal areas, yet not stifling when exploring historical ruins in the sunshine. September brings harvest, so along with food and wine festivals, it is truffle and wild mushrooms season. Venice is host to the historic boat race, Regata Storica, and the International Film Festival while Verona celebrates Juliet’s birthday.
North Macedonia, paired well with neighbouring Albania and Kosovo, has a dry Mediterranean climate making it a year-round destination. However, summer and early autumn (June - October) are particularly nice times to visit the many mosques, monasteries and historical sights, as well as to explore the lakes and mountains, which offer a cooler climate and breathtaking views. Although September can still be relatively busy, this lesser explored nation does not yet have the hordes of travellers that other European countries draw. The cultural traveller may enjoy Skope Jazz Festival or the Kavadarci Wine Carnival in the Tikves region, while Independence Day is celebrated on 8 September.
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